Name of Series: Pretty Cure
Original run: February 1, 2004-January 30, 2005
As of late, I have been really into Toei’s ongoing magical girl anime franchise, Pretty Cure, or PreCure for short. It’s my second favorite anime series ever. Today, I have decided to introduce one of the definitive installments of the series, the original Pretty Cure from 2004. The story focuses on Nagisa Misumi, a sporty, tomboyish girl, and Honoka Yukishiro, a more studious, girly-girl, as they find themselves becoming the defenders of Earth from the forces of the Dark Zone and subsequently become close friends. The first half focuses on Nagisa and Honoka trying to adapt to battling evil while maintaining their school lives. In battle they transform into the legendary warriors known as the Pretty Cure with the help of two fairies from the mystical Field of Light named Mepple and Mipple.
From left to right: Nagisa Misumi/Cure Black, Honoka Yukishiro/Cure White
During the first half of the series, Nagisa and Honoka battle monster-of-the-week enemies called Zakenna, as well as five generals leading the Dark Zone’s forces. The generals, in order, are Pisard, Gekidrago, Poisonny, Kiriya, and Ilkubo.
*Warning! The next paragraph contains major spoilers!*
While many of these serve the Jyaku-King, the Dark Zone’s ruler, up to the end, Kiriya eventually becomes more sympathetic as he learns more about humans while posing as a student, and after a fight against the Pretty Cures, sacrifices himself to further their goals of saving both Earth and the Field of Light. After all five generals are defeated, Nagisa and Honoka battle and defeat the Jyaku-King, but three new generals, Belzay, Regine, and Juna, appear and pose a greater challenge. These new villains also have two butler zakenna who serve as comic relief.
*end of spoilers*
As far as writing goes, Pretty Cure is definitely very entertaining. The two protagonists, Nagisa and Honoka, are very likeable, and the dynamic of the two being complete opposites works wonders for character interaction. The series also has a wonderful sense of humor. The villains are generally the kind of all-around devious masterminds you’d expect in a show like this, but are well-characterized. However, I have mixed feelings about the supporting cast. The human characters definitely succeed in breathing life into the setting, and Mipple isn’t that bad a character, Mepple, and later, Pollun, can prove to be kind of annoying. One notable aspect of the show is the fight scenes. Instead of solely relying on magical powers, the Pretty Cures make use of hand-to-hand combat techniques for the early parts of a battle, with magical attacks being used only as finishing moves. It’s an interesting way to do the fights for a magical girl anime, and worth making note of. The visuals are also something that can easily be appreciated. The animation is excellent, and the character designs are just wonderful. The protagonists look awesome both in their civilian and heroic identities, the cute mascots are designed well-enough for the part, and the villains look as menacing as they need to be. The voice acting is okay in most spots, although it’s not perfect. Yukana’s performance as Honoka is hardly five-star material, and just comes off as bland in my mind. Other than this, though, the voice cast is great.
Pretty Cure is a truly wonderful anime for anyone who just wants to enjoy themselves watching a show with plenty of action and humor. While it’s not perfect, it’s entertaining, and that’s all that matters in the end. While I haven’t yet finished it yet, I’m getting pretty darn close, (I’ve watched 40 out of 49 episodes) so I think I can give a final verdict that it’s worth checking out.
Final Score: 13 out of 15 (Excellent)